Prayer Targets: Gun Violence Solution; Church Membership; Drag Queen Story Hour; Values Voter Summit
September 04, 2019
Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind' ...'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV)
Dear Praying Friends,
Tony Perkins (bio) is the fourth and longest-serving president of FRC and is an ordained Southern Baptist pastor. His advocacy for life, faith, family, and religious freedom have impacted our nation. Now Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Tony is laboring to advance religious liberty around the world. As a husband, father of five, minister, leader of men, and pastor of pastors, Tony is a pursuer of God and defender of his truth. These excerpts are from his op-ed on the real cause of and solution to the mass shootings that have scourged America in recent years:
Increasingly, few if any genuinely safe places exist as a refuge from armed, angry, addicted young men pumped up on violent video games and suffering from the absence of a moral core. Schools, churches, shopping centers, businesses, and almost every place people gather have become targets for deranged individuals who are set on perpetrating evil and in possession of lethal weapons. At what point will we have the courage to acknowledge that our nation has a problem?
As a former police officer, this perspective on gun violence is not an academic approach. I've encountered armed suspects and dealt with gun-related violence. I've lost friends, gunned down in the line of duty. I have a full appreciation of the stress that families of law enforcement officers endure each day as their father, mother, son, or daughter head out to protect their neighbors and communities.
As president of the Family Research Council, I also saw gun violence from another perspective -- as a target of hate. Our organization in Washington D.C. was attacked by a now convicted, domestic terrorist. Inspired by a leftist organization, Floyd Lee Corkins came into our offices with 100 rounds of ammunition and began firing, critically wounding one of our team members.
Yet the growing frequency and scale of such armed atrocities are symptomatic of a much deeper crisis, fomenting for decades. It is dishonest and self-serving of politicians who claim that this crisis is the result of statements made by President Donald Trump about securing our southern border. How would they explain the mass shootings that took place in Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino or Aurora during the Obama administration?
While policies may have an impact on this issue, unfortunately the debate never gets beyond the stalemate over "gun control." Though an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, I am willing to talk about laws regarding the ownership and use of guns by those who should not have them. But the missing component to this discussion playing on an endless political loop is the impact of the moral vacuum created by eliminating values, faith and civility from the public square.
Restricting the implements of violence while ignoring the causes is futile. Our nation's capital, with some of the most restrictive gun-ownership laws in the country, clearly illustrates this point. The instruments chosen are secondary to the reasons people strike out.
As Jesus observed in Matthew 15:19, from the human heart comes murder. To talk about the "why" and not just the "how," requires we go beyond external, environmental factors to focus on the internal aspect of morality. And we can't have an honest discussion about morality without including religion.
Our nation's founders understood the importance of faith and morality working hand in hand in our republic to restrain the worst of our human nature. George Washington in his farewell address at the end of his second term as president included several pieces of advice for preserving America's prosperity, security and happiness. He observed: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."
Some will be quick to say that nearly 250 years later, America has moved beyond the faith that inspired nation builders. That is a tragedy. Today our culture increasingly marginalizes public faith and religion, pushing it from the public square. But in the process, we've lost public morality, common decency and virtue, which are essential to freedom.
To achieve security for our families and communities while preserving the freedom that has made America great, we have only one option: Restore morality by renewing our commitment to the free exercise of religion. In other words, we should protect, not prevent, religious freedom.
Our baser nature clearly is not changed by passing more laws. The promises of security through more government restrictions will only serve to erode our freedoms while providing little protection. Rather, the solution to the gun violence plaguing our nation will be found in a willingness to recognize, as did the Founders, that as a people we are dependent upon and accountable to an omniscient God. Only from such an understanding can morality and public virtue, essential for freedom, become commonplace.
As Americans, we must carefully consider the path we take in addressing this present and growing crisis. New gun laws never achieve what a commitment to the Golden Rule can accomplish. America will be safer if all of us do unto others as we want them to do unto us. (Tony Perkins, "Solution to gun violence isn't what you think, says former police officer," Fox News Opinion, 8/25/19, edited for space)
Days after Tony's editorial went to print, 7 people were killed and 21 more injured in a mass shooting in Midland and Odessa, Texas. Such shootings in America are part of an avalanche of many evidences that show our departure from God and morality. These pathologies reveal the real existential threat to our nation's survival. If America does not have the discussion Tony is calling for, if we do not draw the right conclusions, and act upon them, the safe and free America we have known will be history. (See Tony and Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks in a short but powerful Fox interview. Hear Tony's interview with Dr. Os Guinness who wrote Last Call for Liberty)
- Intercessors PLEASE PRAY! May our prayers lead to emergency action in every community and American state. May God's people repent, arise, and engage America in this critical God discussion! (2 Cor 5:9-21)
Church Membership Plummeting -- An April 2019 Gallup study revealed that the number of Americans who are church members has plummeted over the past 20 years from 70 percent of all Americans in 1999 to 50 percent in 2019. Clearly, the national "conversation" Tony Perkins proposes is urgent! America's pastors cannot do the job alone. This requires an all-hands-on-deck response by faithful believers across America and unprecedented leadership by those God has called to lead. The Great Commission is pressing, yet most of those who identify as believers have long neglected it. And as Tony has suggested, the Golden Rule must prevail over the hate and hostility that has become the norm in America. Evangelist Mark Anderson believes we have a very limited window in America. (See Religion News Service: Worship Plummets; Gallup Study; Mark Anderson -- The Urgency of All America)
- May each of us heed Christ, who said, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." God, open our eyes and shake us if you must to pray and act! (Pr 11:30; Is 58: all; Mt 9:36-38; 28:18-20;Jn 14:15; Acts 6:4; Php 1:15-18; 2 Tim 4:2-5)
The Drag Queen Story Hour -- This movement has been gaining traction in city after city, state after state, and even in unsuspecting rural communities. Now, it is finally being discovered by concerned Christians and common-sense Americans who want their children to grow up in a morally safe environment. Even still, the Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) movement, with the support of the American Library Association, aggressive LGBTQ activist groups, and even liberal clergy and churches, shows no signs of slowing down. Thankfully, concerned communities are beginning to learn that DQSH "teachers" are not only sexually confused individuals, some are also convicted sex offenders. The Christian Post tells us that Jon Uhler, a licensed professional counselor who has worked clinically with approximately 4,000 serial predators for over 11 years, believes DQSH events constitute "the greatest grooming program ever devised" and predators "are laughing all the way to the bank." Only now is the truth about this radical movement attracting meaningfully broad concern. But concern is not enough. Prayer and action are required. Every believer should get involved at some level to prevent this from taking place in their community library. (Read CP: Greatest Grooming Program Ever Devised; Hear FRC's Sarah Perry interview Jon Uhler -- begin at min. 17)
- Father, our land is awash in sexual immorality and confusion. You promise to judge us for all such behavior. God, help us to intervene in righteousness to prevent the abuse of little children across our land. This has gone way to far! Help us, O God! (Mt 18:2-7; Rom 1:18-32; Col 3:3-7)
Finally, everything that is happening politically, economically, domestically, and internationally with America depends on the moral and spiritual health of our nation. That health depends upon the mercy of God and the intercessors who stay close to God and access his mercy through faithful, sacrificial prayer. Please pray over these further matters as you are led by the Lord: 1) The nation is becoming more and more pro-life. One Obama advisor has said publicly that all the Democratic presidential candidates are "out of step" with Americans on abortion. 2) The Democratic National Committee has passed a resolution affirming unbelievers and criticizing religious believers for their political beliefs: "The religiously unaffiliated," the resolution asserts, "overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party's values... with 80% supporting same-sex marriage..." The resolution criticizes religious Americans: "[T]hose most loudly claiming that morals, values, and patriotism must be defined by their particular religious views ... justify public policy that has threatened the civil rights and liberties of many Americans..." The Freedom From Religion Foundation called the DNC resolution "a sign of bigger and better things to come for freethinkers." 3) An all-star team of scientists has published a new study in the journal Science that used a study sample of nearly a half million people. Their goal? To identify genetic factors that contribute to same-sex sexual behavior. Their findings? There is no single genetic determinant of same-sex sexual behavior (read analysis by FRC's Peter Sprigg). LGBT activists are enraged, and many are rejecting the study despite its breadth and depth. The study debunks the rationale that has contributed to 18 states outlawing counselors from helping individuals desperate to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions. Pray that this study will have the impact it should. 4) The 2019 Values Voter Summit is just five weeks away: October 11-13. Please pray for the success of this critically important event in Washington, D.C. Come if you can. If you are a dedicated intercessor and would be interested in being part of the on-site VVS prayer team with half your time spent with other prayer warriors invoking God's presence over the multifaceted event, write me, Pierre Bynum, at email@example.com.
As we enter this critical season for Values Voters, as always, thank you for praying!